BUKIT JALIL: When Lee Chong Wei says he might be competing till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it was no empty rhetoric.
It was obvious on the Axiata Area yesterday as the 35-year-old Chong Wei let his motion do the speaking by capturing his 12th home title in model to present his rivals that he nonetheless has many good years of badminton left in him
The world No. 6 withstood a stern problem from the in-form Japanese star Kento Momota to win 21-17, 23-21 in a 71-minute battle for his 47th profession title spanning over 17 years.
“It’s very fulfilling,” mentioned Chong Wei.
“Reaching 14 finals and winning it 12 times is no easy feat. The Malaysian Open is no ordinary local tournament as it’s one of the prestigious international tournaments.”
“I felt the immense pressure being the sole flag bearer in the men’s singles but I’m so glad I didn’t let the supporters down today.”
The competition between the 2 most interesting shuttlers of their respective generations did reside up to its hype yesterday – even till the final shuttle.
After a hard-fought opening sport win, Chong Wei seemed to be cruising in direction of a straightforward victory when he opened up a commanding 12-5 lead.
However former world No. 2 Momota confirmed simply why nobody had overwhelmed him within the final 21 matches when he picked up six straight factors to make it 13-12.
He piled up the stress to degree the competition at 18-18 earlier than securing sport level at 20-19.
However a decided Chong Wei saved two sport factors to attain 22-21 and it took some aspect of luck for the previous to troop home as a winner.
Chong Wei challenged a name within the essential stage and the moment evaluate system confirmed the shuttlecock was out by a whisker.
“I had two challenges left, so I took a gamble. And fortunately, luck was on my side.”
Chong Wei believes the result might have been completely different if the match was stretched to a rubber sport.
“I couldn’t afford to let the match go to a rubber game. Momota, being one cycle (of 12 years) younger, would surely have the advantage in terms of fitness.”
“If I keep up to this form and maintain my condition, I’ll give it another shot at the next Olympic Games.”
The 23-year-old Momota was in awe of Chong Wei.
“He’s just really good. He doesn’t play like a 35-year-old man,” mentioned Momota.
“I really admire him. He’s definitely still one of the best men’s singles shuttler in the world right now and I still have plenty to catch up.”